Just a Quickie: Avengers: The Initiative TPB Vol. 1 Basic Training

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Before I had really gotten back into the swing of buying comics monthly, and before issues of New and Mighty came out, I was craving something to buy. A friend of mine suggested I check out this trade, saying that he liked it, and that someone needs to be buying the title out of our group of friends. I wasn’t sure at first; it was more new young characters, a concept not particularly new to the Marvel Universe, with Young Avengers, Runaways and a smorgasbord of other young superheroes emerging.

 

But I was intrigued, and being that the Initiative was borne out of the Civil War, showing the plan for the fifty state initiative that I was skeptical about but all the same interested in, I decided to buy it.

 

 

Turns out my friend was right.

Writer Dan Slott (She Hulk) does some of his best work that I’ve seen. While Steffano Caselli’s pencils were good, I was more nonplussed than anything with his art (but his art was better than Steve Yu’s in issue 6). It’s kind of a manga/anime style (I don’t know the difference, sue me) that you would think would fit with a book about kids, but honestly, the Initiative is a lot darker than one would suspect. There are serious moral and ethical issues in each issue, and you continue to question these heroes and the government, and there are also surprising deaths and some brutal action, something that was unexpected going in. I was pleasantly surprised by the tone.

 

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t just new characters created, as I should’ve surmised by the cover of issue 1, which is a crowd of practically every Marvel hero save for some key Avengers and mutants. Henry Gyrich is kind of the government agent in control. I haven’t read a helluva lot of him, save for some issues of Avengers, but basically he’s a big prick committing questionable acts (which fits in with his character on the X-Men Animated series), but he still cares for the country and I think his character arc has just begun. Other main cogs in the series are Hank Pym as Yellowjacket, War Machine (yay), Justice, Rage, Thor Girl and other New Warriors and Gauntlet, a character I had never heard of before, but a damn good army sergeant (which is to say: a big dick). There is also a few great guest stars that I will leave unnamed in case people decide to check it out. I also found myself enjoying the characters created, like Cloud 9, MVP, Armory, Komodo, Hardball and Trauma especially (the power to display a person’s greatest fear is just awesome; should be called a boggart).

 

There were some great moments in this series, including the debut of the “Secret Initiative” featuring mysterious characters that I’m intrigued to learn more about (including three people using the Iron Spidey costume). Also, the Komodo vs. Spider-Man scene was one of the better sequences in a comic I’ve read in awhile. Plus, I don’t want to ruin anything, but what happens to Armory is shocking. This book pulls no punches, which is something I didn’t expect from a story about young superheroes learning their powers. It’s a lot better than it sounds. While there are some points where I worry about characterization, and where I don’t really like the art, there is definitely a lot more positive than negative about Basic Training.

 

Anyways, I enjoyed the start of the series, and it seems to have a lot of potential, as we discover more about the Initiative, the mysterious actions of Hardball and his contact, the effects of Secret Invasion (skrulls walk among these guys) and what the government has in store for these people. I implore you to check it out!

 

Rating: Spiffy’s Fly Was Hot and Bothered (While I definitely rubbed myself while reading, I didn’t make sweet sweet love to this title)

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One Response to “Just a Quickie: Avengers: The Initiative TPB Vol. 1 Basic Training”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    Hahaha, “Hot and Bothered”… the Initiative’s gotten good buzz, but when I check out preview pages online, they never grab me, for some reason. Might be the dialogue?

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